Tasty Survival – Squirrel Stew

As part of our collective efforts to prepare for the z-poc ZSC command is continuing its mission to bring you a series of recipes to keep the body strong and the spirit lifted during dark times.

The last time Blue Brigade was in the frying pan to provide a recipe, they went with one of Commander Reedus’ personal favorite dishes, macaroni and cheese. This time Blue Brigade is going true ‘squirrel-slinging redneck style’ –and if anyone can come up with a nifty little tune to accompany this there could be a prize involved.

 

 

 

All jokes aside this is a handy, easy recipe for a hearty meal on the go that can be tailored to reflect individual tastes and the environment you’re in when the time comes to make this stew.

Ingredients:

1 squirrel, butchered, skinned and cut up
flour salt and pepper, to taste
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
7 cups water 1 teaspoon thyme
1 cup corn
3 potatoes, cubed
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3 medium onions, sliced
2 cups canned tomatoes with juice (or a bushel of fresh tomatoes, cut up)

Directions:
1 – Roll the squirrel pieces in flour, salt, and pepper.
2 – Brown in butter. Remove from pot.
3 – Add water to pot and bring to a boil.
4 – Add squirrel and all other ingredients (with the exception of the tomatoes) to the boiling water, cover, and simmer for 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
4 – Add the tomatoes and continue to simmer another hour.

Enjoy!

squirrelstew


Commander Monday: Norman Reedus

Norman+Reedus+Rock+Ages+New+York+Special+Screening+QWmA2juD28SlBlue Brigade, meet your commander Norman Reedus! This multi-talented actor, filmmaker, photographer, writer and artist has played an Irish vigilante, a sociopathic murderer, street gang leader, a conspirator, the unfortunate snack of cannibalistic humanoids on a deep-space vessel, and – of course- a beloved redneck zombie killer and survivalist.

Norman started making ripples in the film industry in 1997, appearing very briefly in the film Mimic and then taking the starring role in the coming of age tale Floating. Three years later, The Boondock Saints delivered a pair of Irish vigilante twin brothers for our consideration, and the general consensus was clear. Norman’s work as an artist, photographer and filmmaker shows yet another branch of talent for a man who has been described as one of the hardest-working actors in the business.

 

Hello-Herman-One-Sheet-H1-691x1024Norman now has three seasons under his belt as a fan favorite with AMC’s wildly successful zombie apocalypse survival drama The Walking Dead, and even after bidding a very tearful farewell to his onscreen brother, he is still working his crossbow-firing fingers to the bone.  Norman is currently filming the fourth season, set to air sometime in October 2013 (We’re still waiting on an exact date, so just clear your Sunday schedule for all of October for now). Norman recently attended the premiere of Sunlight, Jr at the Tribeca Film Festival, and the much-anticipated film Hello Herman is scheduled for release next month.

 

 

 

Between filming, interviews, podcasts, magazine photo shoots, and the never-ending parade of convention appearances all over the world, Norman still can be counted upon to reach out to his fiercely devoted fans through social networking outlets whenever he can, even when we are sure he should be getting a little shut-eye. For his tireless and exhaustive efforts to spread the word, keep hope alive and fearlessly face the shambling hordes time and time again, the Zombie Survival Crew salutes Blue Brigade Commander Norman Reedus.

 

 

 

If you’re just joining us for this series, please be sure to check out our previous Commander Monday reports!


Tasty Survival – Macaroni And Cheese

dutch_oven_campfireWEBAs part of the ongoing effort to keep our loyal members well fed during the Z-Pocalypse, we’re taking a look at a very important aspect of daily nutrition – comfort food. Whether standing alone or as a side dish with your favorite post-apocalyptic meal, macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food. As long as fresh milk, cheese, butter and eggs are still available, this long-time favorite of Blue Brigade Commander Norman Reedus can be easily prepared almost anywhere.

If you’re fortunate enough to have found safe haven in a place with a working kitchen, this one is a snap. But even with a simple wood stove or an outdoor campfire, this recipe can also be prepared in a deep skillet or in a Dutch oven.

Ingredients:

1 lb macaroni, cooked
4 tbsp butter
2 eggs, beaten
3 cups milk
2 tbsp flour
½ tsp salt
6 cups grated cheddar cheese

Directions:

Melt the butter in the bottom of the Dutch oven, then stir in the flour to make a light roux. Add the salt.  Mix milk with beaten egg and blend in until thick and bubbly then add in 5 cups of cheese, stirring until melted.  Stir in cooked macaroni noodles then top off with balance of cheese.  Set dutch oven over campfire until heated through and slightly browned on top.

P1040256

It certainly goes without saying that as daily survival gets tougher, items such as fresh milk and cheese may no longer be easily available. In preparation for this stage, you might want to stock up on dry goods. Boxed macaroni and cheese dinners can be made with powdered or evaporated canned milk.  You can also use macaroni and cheese sauce mixes. If available, canned tuna or chicken and canned vegetables can be added for extra fuel and nutrition.

Enjoy!

 


Commander Monday: Jim Burleson

Blue Brigade’s Second Lieutenant Jim Burleson brings a unique expertise to the Zombie Survival Crew.  Not only has he been referred to as “the man behind the plan of Albuquerque’s first MAJOR Comic Convention,” Jim is smart, organized, and quick to act when action is needed. Actor, producer, stuntman… he’s seen it all from many different angles and knows how to get in and out before anyone even knows he was there. Currently stationed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Jim has become a well-known fixture in his state of residence and we at the Zombie Survival Crew are confident that the Southwestern zones will be under his watchful eye when the dead begin to rise.

 

 

 

Starting off as a stunt performer in the crime thriller The Keeper in 2009,  it wasn’t long before Jim introduced himself to the world as producer and host of the television series Cage Fighta.  Continuing on to work both behind and in front of the camera, Jim has been spotted on the television series In Plain Sight, and also in the recently-released motion picture The Avengers. And it certainly can’t be mere coincidence that he appeared onscreen with fellow Commander Sean Patrick Flanery in the action thriller Deadly Impact.

 

Coming soon:
Currently in post-production is the film Stars, and be sure to keep one watchful eye on the New Mexico horizon for the indie film The Cowgirls.

For more information about our fearless leaders, please check out our previous field reports!


A Special ZSC Birthday Surprise

From the very cluttered desk of Commander-in-Chief Juliette Terzieff

The big man in red and his minions up in the North Pole have nothing on the Zombie Survival Crew commanders this December. As part of our second birthday celebrations, we’ve been preparing a huge surprise for all of you.

It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since the ZSC opened its virtual doors and began recruiting the best crew of survivors in the verse! It’s been an amazing journey that would not have been possible without each and every one of our commanders and the legions of loyal brigadiers, and we thank you!!!

We know you’re tough. We know you’re battle ready. We know you’ve got a stocked go bag, a weapon of choice and a plan for what to do when the worst happens.

But are you ready for this?

Nah, I don’t think you are. What? Okay, okay, no more teasing. . .

We here at ZSC command are excited to announce a host of new products over the coming months, including the latest gear featuring our Blue Brigade Commander. Keep your eyes peeled for more updates in the coming weeks — we’ve got some cool stuff planned as we head into our third year!

There’s a ton of ZSC and Reedus t-shirts, tanks tops, hats, and more.
Pre-orders are open today and can be found HERE and will leave the Command Center to your front steps around January 20.

Best part? A portion of the proceeds from the ZSC Reedus line will be put in a fund to support Oxfam and Doctors Without Borders, and other development/disaster response organizations as event need dictates.

So grab your gear ZSC loyalists and wear it with pride if you’re able to get out to a 2013 event! And when you do? We would love to see some pictures!


Commander Mondays: James Gonzaba

Blue Brigade 1st Lieutenant James Gonzaba first became known to us as the handsome yet menacing Jorge on AMC’s The Walking Dead who helped beat Daryl Dixon in an Atlanta alleyway. Perhaps first impressions are not all they seem to be, but it was clear that this young man with strong presence and  stature was already destined for leadership in the Zombie Survival Crew. His smile is disarming, and his tendency to laugh makes it easy to underestimate just how dangerous it would be to corner our beloved First Lieutenant, but make no mistake… James is not a man to be trifled with. Standing strong alongside Blue Brigade’s Commander, James ensures the safety of us all with his calm yet commanding presence.

In addition to The Walking Dead, James has been spotted in CSI Miami and The Return of Johnny V.

James Gonazba with fellow ZSC commanders Neil Brown Jr. and Anthony Guajardo

It is with regret that I must divulge that as of the time of this report I have lost contact with Lieutenant Gonzaba, and his whereabouts cannot be confirmed. We have suspected UGA involvement for some time, and fear he may have been captured, or perhaps is on the run. A deep cover operation may be required to determine Lieutenant Gonzaba’s whereabouts, but at this time please be assured that security has not been breached, and we have full faith in the loyalty of our chosen commanders. Lieutenant Gonzaba will neither be forgotten nor left behind. His last known communication came to us via scrambled video, which we have decoded for this report.

Any further sightings or intel regarding the Lieutenant’s current whereabouts may be sent by scrambled signal only using the comment form on this page.

 

If you’re just joining us for this series, please be sure to check out our previous Commander Monday reports!

 

 


Moira Rescue Mission: Part VI

The mission to rescue Blue Brigade member Moira Jones continues…

A secret self-organized unit within the ZSC received the Urgent call for help from Moira Jones and sprang into action. Although the city is awash with walkers, these brave souls put together a mission plan on hearing Moira’s plight. Exactly what we expect from Zombie Survival Crew members. Below is a brief mission recap, then a continuation of the field reports pouring in following up on earlier reports of the mission’s genesis.

MISSION: Rescue one Moira Jones from 6th floor of over run hospital.
OBJECTIVE: Search for and rescue Moira Jones and bring to safety.
STRATEGY: Rendezvous with fellow members of the ZSC and use skill sets to bring Moira Jones to safety.

Field Reports:

PERSONNEL:

The Rescue Team

Emma’s POV (With Apryl):
     We moved slowly through the darkened hospital. I tried to steady my frayed nerves and ordered myself to get a grip. Purple Brigade prides itself on the ability to think clearly in any situation, and I needed to be on top of my game for this mission—even if I’d forgotten my go bag in my haste to get to the hotel. Luckily, Jess remembered hers and so I’d been able to receive a bit more information from the Purple Brigade leader, the Oracle.
     No one knew how many walkers there were, but the situation didn’t look good. Walkers had easy prey in a hospital, and so far there had not been one single report of anyone making it out alive. Still we had two powerful zombie-killing positives on our side: Blue Brigade Leader Norman Reedus and the Leader of Special Forces, Michael Rooker.
     With them leading us, we had hope. But each moment intensified the danger Moira faced, and there were so many questions swirling through my brain: Where did she end up? How much food did she manage to grab? Were there other survivors with her? Had she been bitten?
     I shook my head. I needed to make sure we got the first level clear before we could really begin looking for Moira. Out of the whole group, I was probably the newest and greenest. Sure, I’d taken on walkers before, but nothing of this magnitude. Frankly, in terms of combat skills, Luna, Jess’s zombie-killing dog, surpassed me by far.
     I was glad I’d been paired with Apryl. The woman could wield her Desert Eagles like no one’s business. She made that clear when she took out a walker reaching for Norman by firing an impossible shot right over his shoulder and directly into its head.

Purple Brigade

     I tightened my grip on my full Tang 440, twenty-inch blade. At least I knew how to use the thing. It was light, easy to swing, and razor-sharp.
     We couldn’t get in and out of the hospital without a fight. Our entrance alone made that quite clear.
     “All right people,” Michael whispered, loud enough for us to hear but quiet enough to keep any nearby walker from hearing us, “you all know what to do. You still have your walkie-talkies; so don’t forget to keep us informed as to where you are. We can’t help you if you get pinned down by walkers and we don’t know where you are, and we’re not going to go running all over the hospital looking for you when we’re trying to find Moira, got it?”
     We nodded. He looked each of us in the eye, and I held his gaze, drawing encouragement from his determination. We were usually a light-hearted and cheerful bunch, especially amongst each other, but not now. Finally, Michael gave a satisfied nod.
     “Let’s go get her. Just remember to watch your partner’s back, and if one of you gets bit…well, you know what to do.”
     I swallowed and glanced at Apryl, who nodded to Michael. I knew that if Apryl got bitten, I’d have to put her down, but I wasn’t sure if I could bring myself to do it.
     Cross that bridge if you come to it, I told myself.
     “Take out any walker you see as quietly as you can, if it’s in your way.” Michael whispered, lowering his weapon again. “And don’t forget, we’re headed for the sixth floor, ward six. If you find her before the rest of us, let us know and we’ll hurry up there.”
     We all nodded again.
     Everyone began to split off into their respective groups: Michael and Tiffany, and Apryl and me. But as we started to move apart, spreading out, our phones suddenly crackled to life and we all stopped short, looking at each other, then hurriedly each of us scrambled to answer. There was only one possible explanation for all of the phones going off at once: news from HQ. The ZSC managed to set up a fairly stable system of communication that allowed a single call to be made to up to sixteen people, so no doubt Norman’s crew were receiving the same call.
     “You have Rooker, Tiffany, Apryl and Emma,” Michael said into his phone. “Go ahead.”
     “And you have Norman, Eve, Jess and Rebecca. Go ahead.” Norman’s voice came in over the phone.
     “Rescue team, this is Yellow First Lieutenant Sean Patrick Flanery.”
     Each of us looked sharply at each other. A sense of foreboding settled itself into the pit of my stomach but I tried not to give in to it.
     “We’re reading you, Flanery,” Rooker said. “What’s the problem?”
     “ZSC HQ just received a call from Moira.” Sean responded, and I felt my breath suddenly cut itself off. Moira called? She was alive?
     “Moira contacted HQ?” Norman asked, sounding as relieved as I felt, “Is she all right?”
     “I don’t know.” Sean said. I could hear the tenseness in his voice, which made me worry. He wasn’t one to get worried easily.
     “What happened?” Rooker asked. “Is she in a secure location?”
     “She said she was, but now I’m not so sure. While I was on the line with her something happened, it sounded like glass breaking and I think something grabbed her. I couldn’t make out much more before the line went dead.”
     Silence fell. No one said a word.
     Finally Norman spoke, softly, but determinedly.
     “We’re going after her, anyway,” he said. “Did she give you a position?”
     “She said she was still on the sixth floor, and she said the only way up was the stairs.”
     “Then we’re taking the stairs.” Michael said, “Can you give us any more info?
     “Sorry, that’s all I got before the line went dead,” he answered. “Stay safe. Flanery out.”
     He hung up and we slid our phones back into our pockets.
     We split up and hurried off in different directions while I conjured up in my mind the map of the hospital Jess showed us. The nearest stairwell lay beyond the critical care ward, through another hall. Apryl unsheathed her hunting knife and I readied my blade as we fell into step beside each other.
     Power was out in the building. Very little light illuminated our path. We peered into darkened offices and patient rooms as we passed, ready to strike if we saw any movement or heard any moaning. Dark smears of blood covered the walls and floor. I could dimly make out what looked like dismembered limbs littered across the cold marble floor and occasionally a shredded corpse.
     Luckily the corpses in the corridor were just lunch, no coming back.
     I shuddered at the thought that this was the new normal. What was around us—this eerie quiet, this feeling of apprehension…of being hunted, this was our reality—a dark new world extending towards a grim a future we were hard-pressed to escape. Unless we could stop the outbreaks. That was what the Purple Brigade worked on. If Jess and I made it out alive, we’d have a good field report to make back to The Oracle.
     We reached the doors to the critical care ward and paused, listening to the hall that lay beyond it. We couldn’t hear anything. Apryl looked at me. “You ready?”
     I nodded, tightening my grip on the blade. One… She raised one of her silenced Desert Eagles and switched the safety off. Two… I grabbed the door handle and tensed. Three… I jerked the door open and we rushed into the critical ward.
     I’d never seen such carnage before. Ever. Blood, guts, flesh… all caked on the walls and floor, and strips of something I didn’t care to identify hung from the ceiling.
     Blood dripped from the ceiling tiles. The emergency exit light glowed red, making the whole place seem to be nothing but blood. The stench was unbearable. The smell of rotten flesh, of death, wafted through the air and I wrinkled my noise, swallowing to keep my stomach under control.
     “Oh, man,” Apryl muttered.
     Bodies of patients and doctors alike littered the floor, most torn apart, their intestines strewn across the cold floor, their muscles and organs exposed. Through it all waded fourteen walkers.
     The one closest to us—missing an arm and an eye—lifted its head and looked at us. A guttural hiss emitted from its disfigured face. The others turned to look. Their soulless, lifeless eyes bored straight through us. The unnatural glint of an insatiable hunger brightened their gaze as they spotted new prey.
     Together, we rushed the walkers. She took down the one missing an arm with a clean shot through the head. I swung my sword through the neck of what had been a doctor.
     His body crumpled, but his head clacked its jaws together as it tried to get a bite of my boot. I stomped down, feeling the sickening crunch of bones snapping, and turned my attention back to the others. Apryl felled two more as they approached. I took down two patients and a nurse. Apryl marched forward, duel wielding her Desert Eagles now, putting a walker down with each shot. She took down four more. I got another two, but as I swept my arm back from a stroke, I lost my footing on the slick, blood-covered floor and stumbled against a walker. It grabbed hold of my arms and growled. I tried to jerk free, but it wasn’t letting go of its food so easily. I pulled against it, harder this time, trying to kick myself free at the same time. It wasn’t working.
     “Down!” Apryl barked and I obediently lowered my head as the walker snarled.
     Blood and bone fragments splattered all over my face. The walker suddenly dropped, shot through the head. There was no time to wipe my face or thank Apryl. I quickly drove my blade into the face of another nurse and then pulled it free and spun, sword outstretched, and swiped off the head of another’s head. That’d been a close call. Very close. I turned to Apryl, shaken, but alive.
     “Thanks,” I said, wiping the gore off. “Are you okay?” She nodded, but looked me over worriedly as she approached.
     No bites on either of us. I needed to step up my game if I wanted to get through this.
     I looked down at the walkers, now still, on the ground as Apryl took out her walkie-talkie.
     “Apryl and Emma,” she said. “In the critical ward. Squirrel.”
     We grinned at each other and hurried back down the hall. Some of my confidence was restored as we made our way down the corridor and the other teams continued to check in. Not one had given the ‘Oreo’ alert, much to my relief. I kept reassuring myself that we would find Moira. She would be fine.
     There were more walkers in the next hallway, but not as many as in the previous one. I let Apryl handle it and instead pictured the layout of the hospital once again, placing our teams in the wards and corridors they’d last radioed in from. We were all still on the first floor, but judging from where Jess, Luna, and Rebecca’s reports, they were fast moving up. We were making headway.
     We paused by the stairwell door, hearing a slow shuffling coming from the other side. I nodded to Apryl and she gave a quick, powerful kick. The door slammed back, straight into two walkers. While they were dazed, she unsheathed her knife and took them out.
     “Apryl and Emma, entering a stairwell. Squirrel so far, we’re going up.”
     It looked like some debris was blocking most of the doors. We’d be doing a bit of climbing to get over it, but it wasn’t anything we couldn’t handle. Everyone radioed in that they were heading up. The higher we climbed, the darker it became, and soon we were in almost complete darkness.
     “We can work around this.” I murmured to Apryl as I heard her stumble over a piece of debris. “We’re to the third floor I think, so we’re half way there.”
     “I’m all right,” she said. “It’s just annoying. We need to move faster. I’m worried sick about Moira.”
     “I know,” I answered, trying to see her in the darkness, “I think we could try and go a little—”
     Something suddenly grabbed my leg. A growl rumbled in the darkness. I yelped and fell back, banging my head against a stair.
     “What?” Apryl called out. “Where is it?”
     My head spun. The walker tugged on my leg. I tried to pull free from its grip, and surprisingly, my leg lifted it up, so it was a small walker at least.
      Apryl rushed over and lashed out with her knife, but missed and slashed my leg. I clenched my teeth to keep from crying out as the skin split apart. Instead, I reached for my own knife.
     “I got it,” I told her and slammed my leg back down.
     The walker growled but let go. I spun my knife and drove it into its head.
     “Are you okay?” Apryl asked, rushing to my side.
     “Y-Yeah,” I assured her, wincing at the stinging pain in my leg and covering the wound with my hand, “I’m okay. Could you reach into my bag and get out the bandages? I think you cut me.”
     She quickly handed them over. I wrapped up the wound as best as I could, hoping that the scent wouldn’t alert any walkers or leave a trail for them to follow. I pulled out my flashlight and flipped it on to take a quick look at the walker, to make sure it was dead.

Red Brigade

     “Oh my…” Apryl breathed.
     It was a toddler. Or, had been a toddler. Its neck and part of its leg bore huge bite marks—a little girl with pretty, long brunette hair caked with blood. Her little hands were dirty and covered in blood as well. Neither Apryl nor I spoke for several minutes. We resumed our silent ascent up the stairs.
     We finally made it up to the sixth floor and approached the door, relieved, but wary. We slid our weapons out in preparation.
     Apryl went first. There was an odd sound as she yanked on the door. She gave a sort of chuckle and whispered, “You have to push it open.”
     I laughed a little and waited for her to push it open, but something was wrong. She grunted as she shoved against it as hard as she could, but the door didn’t budge.
     “Give me a hand,” she whispered. I edged in and shoved against it with her. It was no use. The door wouldn’t budge.
     “Oh you have got to be kidding me,” she growled. I wasn’t much happier about the situation.
     “I guess they locked it or barricaded it. We’ll have to go back down and try the fifth floor.”
     “Such a waste of time,” Apryl said as we started back down.
     I nodded, not that she could see me, but she expressed my sentiments exactly. If this door was barricaded, what about the fifth floor door? We’d probably end up having to double back and find the other stairwell, which would cost us a lot of time. Time we didn’t have.
     Both Apryl and I rushed back down to the fifth floor door and tried it. It too was barricaded, but gave way a little as Apryl leaned against it, so I helped her and together we shoved against it as hard as we could.
     After shoving and grunting for several minutes, we managed to push the door open wide enough to squeeze through. For a moment, I thought we were alone and somehow stumbled across an area that didn’t have any walkers. But just as Apryl started to reach for her walkie-talkie, we heard it. A sickly groan came from one of the rooms. A walker in a hospital gown emerged, staring at us. Apryl started to go for it, but I caught her arm and stopped her as more walkers emerged from the other rooms. Their moans grew louder. More and more began to issue forth.
     “We’ve got this.” Apryl raised her Desert Eagles while I unsheathed my blade.
     The thought that one of these things might be trying to get to Moira filled me with disgust and anger.
     We’re coming, I thought. We’re coming, Moira. Just sit tight.
     “You take the left side, I’ll get the right, okay?”
     I nodded, then we both rushed forward. Walkers fell with every bullet Apryl fired and with every swing of my blade.
     We’re not going to let these things stop us. They’ve taken enough from us already: our families, our homes, and our security. We’re not about to let them take Moira, too.


Moira Rescue Mission: Part V

The mission to rescue Blue Brigade member Moira Jones continues…

A secret self-organized unit within the ZSC received the Urgent call for help from Moira Jones and sprang into action. Although the city is awash with walkers, these brave souls put together a mission plan on hearing Moira’s plight. Exactly what we expect from Zombie Survival Crew members. Below is a brief mission recap, then a continuation of the field reports pouring in following up on earlier reports of the mission’s genesis.

MISSION: Rescue one Moira Jones from 6th floor of over run hospital.
OBJECTIVE: Search for and rescue Moira Jones and bring to safety.
STRATEGY: Rendezvous with fellow members of the ZSC and use skill sets to bring Moira Jones to safety.

Field Reports:

PERSONNEL:

The Rescue Team

Jessica’s POV (With Rebecca):
     Rebecca, Luna, and I slowly started making our way toward the hallway directly in front of us. Rebecca was a new recruit in the Red Brigade of the Zombie Survival Crew and incredibly grateful that her machete arrived in time for the rescue mission. She ordered a special-made Billhook Machete and also brandished her desert eagle with silencer. I carried my cast iron skillet, a sword that I’d commissioned, and also a gun with a silencer. Luna had her unmatched keen senses of smell, hearing and sight even in the dark, and of course, her fangs and powerful bite. We halfway down the hall when all of the sudden Luna stopped in her tracks and let out a soft growl.
     “Jess, I see something down there in the hall,” Rebecca said, tightening her grip on her machete.
     I squinted made out a dark figure hunched over another dark figure. We inched closer. Slurping and crunching noises filled the hall—definitely a walker enjoying a meal.
     “I got this,” Rebecca said and moved forward.
     As she approached the walker, it lifted its head up and sniffed the air. Before it could even turn around, I heard the machete swing through the air, and thud—the walker’s head smacked the wall.
     I moved closer. Rebecca smiled and said, “Four!”
     “That would’ve been a hole-in-one, right there,” I joked. Surprisingly there weren’t any other walkers the hallway. We made it to a set of stairs.

Purple Brigade

     “Rebecca and Jess, squirrel. We’re at the stairs.” I paused. Something didn’t feel right about how quickly we made it to the stairs. Only one walker, and that was it?
     “We are heading up.” I put the walkie-talkie back in my pocket.
     Rebecca, Luna and I made it safely to the top of the stairs and headed down the hallway. We came to a door, and we pushed it open, walked through, and froze.
     “Oh my God,” Rebecca said.
     My eyes stung with tears and I knew I couldn’t keep them from pouring down my face. Rebecca and I embraced one another, sobbing quietly. Then we heard a very soft snarl.
     We pulled away from each other. The tears fell even harder as we moved toward the sound. There it was, in an incubator, probably not even a week old when it had been bitten. Its entire left arm and part of its face had been ripped off. It snarled as loudly as it could—barely louder than a whisper. Rebecca and I looked at each other and knew what we needed to do, but my heart broke.
     I lifted my cast iron skillet over its tiny body and as I brought it down to end it’s suffering, it snarled. I fell to my knees and wept. Rebecca crouched down and we tried to comfort each other, but there was just no comfort to be had.
     Rebecca pulled me back to my feet. We searched the room now filled with tiny growls and snarls. There were probably twenty infant walkers in incubators. Helplessly, they all reached, hoping for something to satisfy their longing.
     Rebecca and I looked each other in the eyes and said at the same time, “They are not alive.”
     I lifted my cast iron skillet above the nearest incubator and I brought it down, before moving to the next one. Rebecca watched with tears flowing and stepped toward a snarling little body. She pulled up her machete and brought it down, ending its suffering. Our tears never ceased as we made our way around the room, and before we knew it the room fell silent. My hands trembled as I looked at the mangled and cut up bodies.
     “We had to do it, Jess,” Rebecca said, tears still flowing down her cheeks.
     “I know, but…” my voice trailed off. A noise came from the hallway.
     We wiped the tears from our eyes and moved slowly toward the hall. We pressed against the doors to listen and heard the shuffling of feet. I pulled the door open. Rebecca, Luna and I slipped out. We stayed against the wall and moved quietly down the hall. Something grabbed my leg and I fell to the floor hard.
     “Oh, crap!” A sharp pain shot up my side. I’d fallen onto my sword. Blood ran down my side.
     “Luna, get it!” I said as I tried to kick at what latched onto my leg.
     Luna snarled and growled as she pounced my attacker. She bit into it. A sickening crunch sounded as her teeth tightened down on its rotting skull. Its hand released my leg.

Red Brigade

     “Jess! Oh my gosh, are you ok?” Rebecca knelt down beside me.
     “Yeah, just kinda stabbed myself,” I said, feeling like a fool.
     Rebecca reached into my backpack and found some first aid items to mend my wound.
     “You’re going to have to do it.”
     Rebecca’s eyes widened as she looked at me and she knew what I meant. I needed her to pull the sword out of my side.
     “Bite down on this,” she said as she handed me a towel from my bag.
     I closed my eyes tightly as she gripped the handle of the sword. I pictured Moira. Saw her fighting off walkers, trapped in a room with little to no provisions. Anger built up in me and I felt no pain as Rebecca pulled the sword from my side. She quickly bandaged me up and helped me to my feet.
     We pressed on and came to some more stairs. I pulled the walkie-talkie out of my pocket, “This is Rebecca and Jess. Squirrel, and we are about to head up another set of stairs.”
     I turned my flashlight on for a second to read the sign posted by the stairs.
     It said: “Take these stairs to get to the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th floors.”
     I looked at Rebecca and she looked back at me. “You ready for this?”
     “Hell yeah, I am,” she responded “Are you?”